A town with more bikes than people and a place where city names and road signs have an abnormal amount of consonants. The land of light beers, gouda cheese, and that other kinda cheese...that people roll up...and smoke. Yes, marijuana is legal. Once you get past the hustle and bustle of the town square, referred to as the Dam Square, a haven of peaceful parks and canals bless the landscape.
Our journey throughout Europe was six weeks, and we spent only a mere three nights in Amsterdam. We chose to stay in an AirBnb outside of the city in the most adorable cottage in a town called Zwanenberg. Luckily the transit in Amsterdam was some of the best we experienced in all of Europe, thats IF you can figure it out! Amsterdam Central has so many platforms and can be very confusing, but the locals are very friendly so it helps to ask those around you for direction.
We were recovering from jet lag and a whirlwind of a time in Dublin, Ireland- so our humble abode outside of Amsterdam was so peaceful and refreshing. My younger sister came to visit us for the night, so we prepared a dinner of cheeses, meats, bread, pesto, wine and a selection of dutch beers. Most of the supermarkets in the Netherlands always had a great selection of fresh, healthy and affordable foods which made life very easy for us while visiting.
Our cottage was owned by a designer, which explains the ADORABLE interior, I mean the dutch do have amazing design sense and style. The neighborhood we stayed in was so quiet and incredibly safe, the dutch are very peaceful beings. We enjoyed sitting in our courtyard drinking coffee all morning, listening to the birds chirp and taking in the rays of sunshine.
Where there are streets, there are bikes. Bikes, everywhere! My first near death hit and run by BIKE occurred during a nice warm day in Amsterdam. Unaware and naive, apparently bikers have their own lane, which also can be mistaken for the sidewalk. When visiting, always remember bikes have priority over pedestrians! Canals and bridges weave themselves throughout the city, and the dutch architecture is so quaint, the city is almost fairytale like.
Everyone’s seen the sign via internet. It’s literally impossible trying to get a decent picture with this city icon. Prepare to wait a while to get a picture, and expect to stare down other groups to snag a spot on your letter of choice. Since we both have “B” names, Brittany and Brian, we decided to go on the opposite side of the sign to take a picture with the “d.” There ya go, AmsterBam! We got our picture, but decided to retreat to a more peaceful setting with a bottle of wine. Vondelpark we went!
The essentials for a traveler in Europe consist of a carrying with you a bottle opener (wine and beer), sunglasses and walking shoes, that’s pretty much it. Most of our days consisted of sitting in parks, drinking a bottle of wine and pretending to be European. When in Amsterdam, if any of these activities appeal to you, head over to Vondelpark and claim your plot of grass to waste your day away. Take in the natural beauty and dutch lifestyle while sipping away on a local beverage. If you have a sweet tooth, head over to the grocery store right away and purchase stroopwaffles! Do yourself a favor and try this delicious snack ( dessert? )before you leave Amsterdam. They are thin waffle shaped crunchy gooeyness with flavors of cinnamon toast crunch and a caramel filling.